"It caught me off guard when they say the knock is going to be a big, boisterous knock; they weren't lying", said Kevin Mawae, who played center for three National Football League teams. He played for the Kansas City Chiefs (1997-2008) and Atlanta Falcons (2009-13) during a 17-year playing career. In his career, he had 64 interceptions returned for an NFL-record 1,590 yards and seven touchdowns.
This year's class will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on August 3.
Longtime Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey and former Ravens safety Ed Reed were elected on their first year of eligibility by voters who gathered for a seven-hour meeting the day before Super Bowl LIII.
Brandt, also elected in the contributor category, was the vice president of player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys from 1960-1988. Brandt helped build one of the most dominant franchises in sports along with Hall of Famers Tex Schramm and Tom Landry. Reed's go-to move was the lateral on the return, with everyone expecting that any time a ball was intercepted it would start going the other way for a potential score.
Mawae was an eight-time Pro Bowl player and a six-time first-team All-Pro.
Lynch was named to the Pro Bowl nine times, including his last four years with the Broncos. "I was there 12 years but only three playoff games". He was also named first-team All-Pro six times, with two second-team honors thrown in for good measure.
In 2021, it becomes even more of a star-studded field as former Colts and Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, former Packers and Raiders defensive back Charles Woodson and former Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson will be among the first-time-eligible players.
The Chiefs drafted Gonzalez out of the University of California with the 13th pick in the first round of the 1997 National Football League draft. In his 16 seasons, Mawae was a part of a line that blocked for a 1000-yard rusher 13 times, names that include Curtis Martin, Travis Henry and Chris Johnson (rushed for 2000 yards in 2009). But Gonzalez played 12 years in Kansas City, racking up more than 10,000 yards and 76 touchdowns - both franchise records.
Brandt spent 29 years with the Cowboys, where his keen eye for talent helped turn Dallas into "America's Team".